September 20, 2019 § 3 Comments
Excited to return to one of my favorite corners of the planet to embark on this new National Geographic program, my first in nearly a year.
In my capacity as featured expert I’ll be delivering a series of lectures on the long, colorful history of the Iberian peninsula, from the earliest clues about human life to the Romans and the Moors and the rise and fall of the Hapsburg dynasty—and possibly beyond that, if we have time, to Francisco de Goya and the Peninsular War.
If there’s enough interest, I’ll also be offering an ad hoc field-based creative writing workshop, and hopefully getting some of my own scribbling done too.
Also looking forward to visiting some of the fascinating sites we have on the itinerary, meeting everyone else on our river ship, the Scenic Azure, and of course sampling some delicious food, wine, and port!
July 1, 2016 § 2 Comments
Very excited to be participating in the first ever NatGeo student programs to Cuba. I’ll be starting out with the first group toward the end of their program in the province of Santa Clara, a few hours east of the capital, and then joining the second group for the beginning of their program in Havana. Traveling to Cuba, by now, feels something akin to going home for me. It’s been a few months, so I’m looking forward to checking in on the evolving situation!
I’m also excited to be traveling with student groups, because leading student groups is how I spent most of my early career in educational travel. I relish the sense of adventure that usually arises within such groups—and in my experience NatGeo students are an exceptionally positive, creative, and intellectually curious bunch. It will be hot this time of year, but that’s nothing to worry about, as we’ll be on an island surrounded by crystalline blue water!
April 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
A new article, “Rounding the Horn,” is out in Nantucket Magazine. It combines an account of part of last winter’s trip to Tierra del Fuego with some of the history of the early Nantucket sailing vessels that had to round Cape Horn in order to get to the Pacific whaling grounds. Click here to read the article. I hope you enjoy it!
February 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
After an eight month absence, I’m heading back to Havana. Much has happened in the intervening time, and it will be fascinating to see how these events are reflected in the reality on the ground. Whatever the case, Cuba is always an engaging and exciting place to be, so I’m looking forward to the trip.
I’ll be accompanying a National Geographic group, where my duties include, among other things, delivering a three-part lecture series: on Spanish colonial Cuba and the historic roots of the U.S.-Cuba relationship; on 20th century Cuba and the triumph of Fidel Castro’s Revolution; and on Hemingway’s three decades in Cuba. The group will spend time in Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and various interesting points in between, meeting with scores of wonderful Cubans, including many new friends and some old friends and contacts!
If you’re reading this and find yourself yearning to travel to Cuba to see what all the fuss is about, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’ve got several affordable private trips in the works for the fall of 2015 and the late winter/spring of 2016, and the chances are there is still an opening!
October 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
Had a great discussion with Troy Shaheen of Putney Student Travel on writing, travel, and leaving the digital world behind. Here’s an excerpt:
“For me, writing is an essential part of traveling. It’s a way to filter the experience, to interpret and record and bestow meaning. Travel allows you to see the world fresh; good writing does the same thing. This is why travel programs with a writing component, or writing programs with a travel component, are so consistently enriching. Travel lends itself naturally to writing.”
You can read the full interview here. And here’s a photo with a wonderful group of young writers on a Putney Student Travel program in Ireland in 2013:
December 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
Just found out a story of mine won the 2013 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards! Crime category, if you can believe it. Very pleased, and I didn’t even have to commit a crime. Though I did write about one . . .
The story is titled “The Afternoon Client.” It will appear in January at Sixfold, and again in May/June at Writers Digest on-line. I’ll post the links once they’re up.
September 15, 2013 Comments Off on Spain and Portugal with National Geographic
Very much looking forward to heading back to the Iberian Peninsula! This time it’s in my continuing capacity as a featured expert for National Geographic Expeditions: On September 30 I’ll be flying to Lisbon for a journey through Portugal and Andalucía, finishing up in Madrid on October 11. I’ll be giving talks on history, art, Goya, and Hemingway, and generally trying to be as helpful as I can both with trip logistics and in terms of helping travelers make personal connections with the fabulous life and culture of one of my favorite parts of the world. Coincidentally, I’ve just posted a craft analysis on For Whom the Bell Tolls, which may be of interest if you’re a writer or a close reader of Hemingway’s fiction.
Back in the U.S. on October 12.